35 years on, Suzy Lamplugh's case is as relevant as ever
The recent tragic abduction and (at the time) presumed murder of Sarah Everard from a SW London street has painful echoes of Suzy Lamplugh's case, which is the subject of the 2-part documentary I have directed and produced , premiering on Sky Crime this weekend (as The Suzy Lamplugh Mystery in the EPG, AKA The Mystery of Suzy Lamplugh).
I was a young man living in Fulham, SW London, in 1986 when Suzy was snatched off the street, presumed murdered, as a lone female of similar age and background. I recall the shocking impact and the fear my wife had of walking alone in the area. These days, we live literally around the corner from where Suzy grew up near Richmond, and the church has a touching stained glass memorial to her. Our daughter is roughly the same age as those victims and works in London. So when I was offered the documentary to direct late in 2020, I felt compelled to address Suzy's still unsolved case.
The fact that such crimes against women still continue so many years on evidently means that London's streets are still not safe for them. One reason for hope is that our wired and surveilled society, while impinging on personal freedoms, certainly makes the detection of predators such as the men who kidnapped Suzy and Sarah much easier. Hence the relatively swift arrest of a suspect in Sarah's case. Alas, from our documentary investigation, the person we and the Lamplugh family consider the prime suspect did in fact go on to murder a young woman again, due both to the lack of modern technology in detection, and alleged mistakes by one of the senior investigating officers.
On the plus side, society today no longer tolerates the kind of archaic, patriarchal attitudes whereby the management of Suzy's estate agency freely admitted to placing her in the shop window as "the most attractive female". Her murderer probably first saw her there and then, we think, stalked her....
Here's an interview I did about directing this film.